Are you feeling the call to share your gifts and leadership in the ministry of Jesus Christ within the United Church community? St. Andrew's College and The United Church of Canada can help you when it comes to considering how to best share your abilities and leadership and chart your path toward theological education and the ministry.
The United Church of Canada normally requires its ordained ministers have an undergraduate degree from a recognized university, followed by theological study with integrated ministry residency or post-graduate internship resulting in a Masters of Divinity degree and the Testamur for ordination. The Testamur is the witness of a United Church theological school that a candidate has completed the program of study prescribed by The United Church of Canada.
For persons who do not have an undergraduate degree from a recognized university, the church provides for an opportunity to request an exception from the normal course of study through the shorter course program. This is only available to persons already received as a candidate and recommended for the program by the conference interview board and the presbytery. Criteria for this exception include: Significant life and work experience which would compensate for an undergraduate degree; and/or evidence that it would be a personal/family/financial hardship to have to complete an undergraduate degree.
Individuals considering entering the ministry should meet with a local discernment committee for about 12 months. It is recommended individuals begin their process with the discernment committee at least 18 months prior to their beginning theological studies in order to provide sufficient time to complete their discernment and receive candidate status prior to entering theological school.
The United Church of Canada website offers helpful information to those exploring the way in which they wish to respond to their call to ministry, the different types of ordered and lay ministry within the church and the church’s process of discernment: http://www.united-church.ca/adultlearning/preparing
St. Andrew's College student Michele Rowe talks to CBC Radio One in Saskatchewan about how the death of her daughter moved her to enter the college's Master of Divinity program. Michele is the mother of four children and grandmother of three. She worked in social work, community development and adult education before answering a call to ministry following her daughter's death in 2004.